photo of Chris Wilkinson

Chris Wilkinson

Chris Wilkinson was an experienced and highly talented actor, director, and writer, who was a distinctive part of the post 1968 revolution in British Theatre. His reputation as a writer was made by development of provocative material for small scale houses that, alongside works by contemporaries such as Howard Brenton, David Hare and David Edgar, challenged mainstream theatres.

Between 1968 and 1978 he not only brought radical improvisation and hitherto taboo material to mainly small and regional theatres, especially in Sheffield, but at the Royal Court and Soho Theatre his work made a London impact as well.

His critically noted and controversial plays Strip Jack Naked, Wally, Molly and Polly, Plays for Rubber Go-Go Girls and Dynamo were enthusiastically received, and his staging of his version of I was Hitler's Maid went to Bochum in Germany in a production which he directed himself.

Graduating in drama from Bristol University in 1962, Chris worked widely as an actor both in regional theatre and on national tours, including for the R.S.C., and he was twice nominated for a Manchester Evening News Award for Best Actor. Always an innovator, Chris was one of the three Founder Members of Yellow Leaf Theatre for whom he directed The Two Ends of the Land of the Living and Scribbler And Spouse, which toured to the north of England and to the Brockley Jack in London – as well as Karen’s Way: a kindertransport life, which the company took to Edinburgh and, by invitation, to Jerusalem.

As a dramaturge, his response to text was nuanced and incisive and rooted in his well-honed stagecraft. The final text for this tour's performances owes much to his involvement. His passing is a loss to his friends and to British theatre.